Efficiency of shallow- and deep-water trawling in the Mediterranean and its implications for discard reduction
Keywords:data envelopment analysis, technical and scale efficiency, fishery strategy, bottom trawling, focus group discussion, fishing lights, discard reduction
The Mazara del Vallo fleet is one of the main fleets of large trawlers in the Mediterranean. Traditionally, the two main fishing strategies adopted by the fleet can be summarized as follows: pesca a fresco (<250 m), mainly targeting fish and cephalopods sold fresh; and pesca a congelato (>250 m), mainly targeting deep-water shrimp sold frozen. The second fishing strategy has become increasingly important over the last decade. This paper aims to investigate the extent to which the choice of targeting deep-water shrimp impacted the level of technical and scale efficiency for the fleet assessed through an input-oriented data envelopment analysis. The analysis was based on data collected under the Italian National Programme within the European Data Collection Framework, as well as through a focus group discussion with the trawler skippers. The results showed that the pesca a congelato trawlers had the highest average efficiency, with both technical and scale efficiency close to the maximum level. On the basis of information collected during the focus group discussion on the pesca a congelato strategy, technical efficiency was coupled with a lower discard rate and the widespread use of LED lights. The findings were discussed in light of the objective of discard reduction in European fisheries, one of the pillars of the reformed common fishery policy.
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